346: Nāda Yoga with Rishima Bahadoorsingh

Yoga is not just about asana – sound is also an important part of yoga, and this is called Nāda Yoga. Rishima Bahadoorsingh is a yoga teacher who focuses on teaching this element of yoga and she shares her insights about Nāda Yoga in this episode.

Rishima has been immersed in the tradition of yoga since birth, practicing it as a way of life in her family. She began singing spiritual Indian songs in the temple traditions of bhajans, kirtan and other devotional styles at a young age and also studied classical Raga. In 2016, she found a deep with Nāda Yoga—the Yoga of Sound. Rishima teaches locally and internationally online in Spanish and English, and her goal as a teacher is to make the intricacies and beauty of classical Raga and traditional bhajans accessible to all, and to spark love within ourselves through sound. 

Rishima explains the three Nāda Yoga that she practices and teaches – Mantra, Raga and Kirtan/Bhajan. She talks about the differences between mantras and affirmations, how Sanskrit ties into to Nāda Yoga, what Raga is and how it is useful in meditation. Rishima also addresses some common questions like if you need to know Sanskrit to practice Nāda Yoga, how to deal with people who are uncomfortable with chanting or singing in Sanskrit (or other languages), and where to start learning about Nāda Yoga.

Key Takeaways:

[2:56] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Rishima Bahadoorsingh

[6:01] What does Rishima do and who does she do it for?

[6:45] Why does Rishima say that she is not a yoga teacher?

“I feel like I do yoga as my life. It’s not something separate from my life.” ~ Rishima Bahadoorsingh

[8:10] There are many ways to practice yoga that do not involve physical movement.

“When you sing [Raga], you become a nada yogi, one who practices the yoga of sound.” ~ Rishima Bahadoorsingh

[9:17] What are the three parts that make up Nāda Yoga?

[12:14] What’s the difference between a mantra and an affirmation?

[15:18] Rishima clarifies that mantras within the Yogic tradition would most likely be in Sanskrit.

[16:35] The second element of Nāda Yoga is Raga. Rishima shares some examples of what it is and how it is used.

[19:57] Raga is an excellent tool for meditation.

[22:19] Rishima explains a little more about the silence needed for meditation.

[23:51] Shannon pops in with a message about OfferingTree.

[25:26] Listening to the sounds can be just as powerful as singing or sounding them.

“With mantra and yogic practice in general, it’s about repetition – the more you do it, the more benefits you will experience.” ~ Rishima Bahadoorsingh

[27:20] The third part of Nāda Yoga is Bhajan or Kirtan.

[28:32] Some people may feel uncomfortable with Sanskrit or a different language.

[31:46] Where can yoga teachers start learning about Nāda Yoga if they have never experienced it or learned about it before?

[34:49] Where can yoga teachers learn more from Rishima?

[35:53] Rishima shares some closing thoughts on Nāda Yoga.

[37:27] Rishima does Nāda Yoga in Spanish and English!

“Singing in another language doesn’t mean you’re converting to a different religion.” ~ Rishima Bahadoorsingh

[39:06] Shannon shares her biggest takeaways from this conversation.


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